I’ve always been curious about networks. I remember opening up an old Linksys Router and discovering the physical circuit, the processor and integrated memory.

But my official networking life didn’t start until my coworker taught me the basics of routing. The first thing I learned was how to log in and enter commands within the command line. The second was CRC errors. These small lessons peaked my interest and by the following week I was digging in and researching how the devices worked. The first Cisco device I had the pleasure to meet was a Catalyst 6500.Cisco Catalyst 6500

I had no idea what I was doing, but I was eager to learn. Software verses firmware, “.bin”’ extensions, encapsulation, connections from LAN to WAN, wiring. The more I researched, the more I liked it and realized this was what I really wanted to do.

The Journey Continues

My networking life continued in Network Support. I remember open tickets, contact carriers that I had never heard of asking me to provide the exact time of the bounce, grabbing logs, demarcation, follow-up, monitoring for 48 hours straight. I felt like a father watching over his son, feeding him and making sure he was safe and secure.

Top 2 Networking Emergency Moments:

  1. A carrier went down during business hours, due to an OC-48 card crashing in London. Half of our clients were affected
  2. An undersea fiber broke, affecting Asia, the Middle East and Europe (Sea-ME-WE 4). I still remember its name

Network Engineer

What I Learned

Through the years I’ve learned how to design, implement, monitor and troubleshoot network related issues, but I’m still learning and discovering every day. For instance, I’ve  learned how to study in English. I enjoy the learning process, but early on it was all in Spanish. The transition to English was kind of scary.

I’ve also discovered pleasant surprises about Cisco. Sandra Lerner, one of the Cisco creators back in 1984, lives in Northern Virginia not far from when I used to live. And one of the DUAL Algorithm creators is a Mexican teacher, named J.J Garcia-Luna-Aceves. DUAL is the Algorithm used by Cisco in the EIGRP routing protocol.

The Future

Now that I’m in the networking world, I see my future clearly. I’m still deciding about my area of focus – Security, Routing and Switching Wi-Fi, etc., but I keep learning and adsorbing. At some point, I would like to teach about networking.

What have you learned on your networking journey? What’s your top networking emergency moment?


Oscar Castillo

Network Support Engineer